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By Randa Necola/ Arab America Contributing writer
Arab Americans love Costco because it is a wholesale operation which saves money for its members. They also love it because they buy big amounts of food; they either have a big family or/and invite friends and family to eat with them which is why they like Costco or similar wholesale companies. Surprisingly, Costco sells some food which caters to Arab Americans. Some of the food offered at Costco is produced by Arab American food distributors.
To save you time, here is a sampling for some of the Arab food that you can find at Costco:
Hannah’s food is a company that produces Arab food in the United States. In 1980, Abraham Hanna and his wife began their company which produces hummus, taboule, and baba ganouj to sell to local stores in Boston. From this humble beginning, Hannah food expanded and proved that they are one of the best Arab food producers in the market with their products sold at Costco. The Hannah Hummus is an organic and healthy and can be found in Costco’s dippings section.
Again, Hannah Food offers the popular salad Taboule in the ready to eat Salad section at Costco. Also, Quinoa (instead of cracked wheat) Taboule at Costco offers a delicious alternative of the Lebanese/Levante salad.
The Damascus Bakery of Brooklyn, New York is the number one seller of Arab bread at Costco. The bread is very healthy and it is whole grain; it can be served as a roll, a sandwich, or for dipping. It is the common bread that Arab Americans use to cook or eat with Arab food.
Most of the time, Costco offers halal lambs and goats in a special section that says “Halal.” The Arab American population is growing in the United States and it is reassuring to know that Costco cares about the Muslim Arab Americans and offers halal meat and also halal chicken. Arab Muslims have to eat the meat and chicken that are halal certified which means that the animal has to be slaughtered in the Islamic tradition which requires cleanliness and adequate slaughtering. The photo above was taken at the Michigan Costco which offer full halal legs of lamb.
Costco offers sweet Mediterranean desserts like Baklava which Arab Americans love to eat and offer to guests. Not to mention, Baklava is a very common dessert to find at any Arab American gathering or event. Costco offers it from companies such as Layla and Sinbad. Importantly, the story behind Layla’s company is that Layla was a poor Mediterranean girl who won the king’s heart by cooking Baklava which made her a “Baklava Queen”, so the company is named after her.
Costco doesn’t forget that Kabab is very popular in the Arab cuisine and also well liked by all nationalities love. So, they offer chicken breast kabab from Butcher’s Best that is seasoned with sweet chili lime. The instant meal is very easy to make and it is absolutely delicious. The Kabab is not only delicious but it’s a healthy meal.
Dates are very important delicacy for Arabs and Arab Americans. Dates are great food to break a fast during the month of Ramadan. Fasting is common among Arab Muslims and Christians. Costco uses a variety of dried Dates companies and the best sellers are Royal, Hadley, and Desert Valley.
One of the most remarkable Arab food products that Costco offers is the original Arab Chicago Cheese. The label of the cheese is written in Arabic and English as the Best Spanish Cheese, offering a Halal Arab cheese that has no gelatin in it. This product is is the top seller cheese at Costco.
Basmati Rice offers one of the most popular rice brands for Arabs. Many Arab dishes are cooked with this brand. Costco made a smart move offering Basmati Rice from Royal. The package can be up to 20 LB which is perfect for Arab kitchens because they cook an abundance of rice and usually invite many guests for dinner. One of the most famous dishes which uses Basmati rice is Kabseh from Saudi Arabia.